Ball

The two of them sat in Legends black -02 Thunderbird with the top down. Woods was making smaller adjustments to her gun, having the parts in a white cloth on her knees. The heavy traffic had them at a momentary stand still by an intersection.
    “Do you remember what I told you?” Legend asks, tracing the leather bindings of the steering wheel. She nods shortly.
    “Even though ‘the Lady’s demeanour might seem harmless, she is very dangerous” Slowly she was putting the weapon back together.
    “Quite. Her associates as well” He gave her a quick look before the lights changed and he started to roll again. “If anyone touch you, in any way, shoot them” Her eyebrow lifted before she looked up towards him. Questioning the command. He simply nodded.

They stopped outside an enormous towering building that looked like a mirror monument of the world outside. Stepping out, they were quickly met by a member of the staff. Legend gave him the car keys and the car was moved into the garage as the two of them walked towards the entrance. Another member of the staff stood there in the same uniform, straight and proud posture. Legend asked to meet ‘the Lady’.
    “Are you here for the ball?”
    “Yes.” Legend replied, which confused Woods. She didn’t know of any festivity.
    “May I inquiry you name, sir..?”
    “No, you may not.” The watch frowned, then opened the door for them.

In the elevator she could notice his irritation about the situation, but she still questioned why he only had to ask for ‘the Lady’ to have the gatekeepers know where he was meant to go. ‘The Lady’ owned the entire complex. It was her home and had been for a very long time. Not even the workers lived within the skyscraper. After that, he added that he did not like the idea of a ball. It could become troublesome.

“No, no, no, cousin!” A light and joyous voice started the moment the two doors split apart. A woman walked up towards them, dressed in the most beautiful dress she had ever seen. Perfectly made for the tall, thin bearer, with the illusion of being completely seamless. She could but feel envy for it. The woman left a group of men and women, all in white dresses and costumes, none nearly as beautiful as the woman, and came to meet the two of them. “What an atrocity! Black to a ball?” She felt ignored as the woman simply passed her.
    “In my defence, my lady, I was not informed of this event.” Legend spoke with a relaxed tone and posture. Still with pride. “Would I have known, and been invited, I would have had a more fitting outfit. I assure you.” The woman, ‘the Lady’, shook her head and made a short wave with her hand.
    “My sincere apologies, cousin. It has been so long since I saw either of you. I did not know how to send you an invitation.” For some reason, Woods could tell that the sincerity was completely false. Even though ‘the Lady’ seemed sincere enough. “But do not let us get caught in that now. Come, join the festivities and have some wine.” Her hand hovered over Legends shoulder, but did not touch him, as she motioned him into the spacious corridor, filled with golden candelabra and mirrors. It wasn’t until then ‘the Lady’ noticed her. “Oh my, did you bring a young lady to me?” Woods almost took a step back as she moved closer, looking over her. Ogling her in a way not even men had.
    “She is my apprentice. Leave her be.” Legend spoke with a stern voice. Staring towards ‘the Lady’, who did nothing more than giggle and flutter to his threats.
    “My are you not a more pretty child.” She started as she leaned down and patted Woods head. “Much more so than his last ‘apprentice’” Looking over the womans shoulder, she could see how he looked worried and annoyed by the scene before him. Woods trusted him over all else and soon she hoped for that trust to be affirmed as she quickly pulled out her gun and shot the woman in the knee.
    ‘The Lady’ screamed as her blood got scattered over the luxurious golden weaved carpet. She did not fall, nor did she stumble. Only a jolt back as the bullet ran through. “How Dare You!?!” The furious eyes locked on Woods showed a different character than the calm and happy woman from before. Complete and utter rage lived within those eyes.
    Woods placed her gun to ‘the Lady’s chin. “Please do not touch me again.” She spoke with a joyous voice and the brightest smile she knew how to make. Seeming unafraid, though she really was. ‘The Lady’ stared at her for a moment, then her demeanour suddenly turned back to the happy façade that she played out so well.
    “Oh dear.” She spoke as she laughed brightly. “Now I have to go and change into another dress.” Her motions was in no way hindered by the fact that she had just recently been shot in the knee. A quick flutter had some of the staff at place, cleaning up the mess and the surrounding people turned away and returned to their former activities. Her hand travelled around the outlines of Legend for a moment in passing, never touching. “Dear cousin, will you not wait for my return? And we can discuss what may be on your heart tonight.” Then she left.
    Legend walked over to Woods and gave her a satisfied smile before his face turned into one of an aristocrat. No emotions revealed. She soon found herself sitting by a table of the ‘employed’, with a glass of wine in front of her. The people around the table were all servants of different kinds. Talking about their masters. Not one of them gave her a second notice. She could see Legend strut around in the obnoxious crowd, mingling. Somehow knowing that the smile on his face was a pure and utter fake.

After about half an hour, Legend was sent for to wait for ‘the Lady’ in a separate room. He brought her along. They were put in a room filled with old paintings. Originals from great masters, unseen in the public eye. A carpet masterfully woven, not insulted by having furniture on top of it. In fact, there were no furniture in the room. No chairs, tables or even shelves. She studied the pictures while he moved to the window and looked down towards the street below.
    “The people out there don’t seem to remember what I did.” She asked with a quiet voice. Worried there would be someone outside the well carved oak door.
    “They remember.” He started “To them it seemed completely ordinary.”
    “Ordinary?”
    “Like brushing your teeth in the morning. She is a very dangerous woman.”
    “She was able to do that at a distance?” Woods asked, looking towards the door. Rubbing her hands.
    “Imagine what she would be able to do if she touched you.” She felt even more nervous than before. Moving her eyes between the paintings and the door when Legends hand was gently put on her shoulder. He gave her soft smile. “Do not worry. She will not dare oppose us.”
    “Why?”
    “She does not know you.” Then the door slammed open and his hand left her shoulder. ‘The Lady’ stepped in, clad in a new beautiful creation, a tight fitting kimono, and a sinister smile on her long cut lips. She had even put up her long hair differently to be more fitting her new clothes, tied it into a knot behind her head, letting the rest flow down her back. For a moment, she even looked slightly more asian than before.

“You wished to grace me with an dialogue about some important thing, did you not, little cousin?” Her voice worked over each word with grace and made them all just as important as the word that followed. Effortlessly she seemed to float through the room towards Legend, who shrugged back as she came closer. Something that made her stop. Not even a glance was directed towards Woods, but she still felt as if the eyes were staring straight towards her. The thick doors slowly closed again as the opening stood empty.
    Legend explained how the regular people seemed to start to take notice of ‘the Lady’s presence. How this notice seemed to escalate to worrying amounts as those who hunt their kind seem to put the pieces together. She only laughed in reply.
    “They could not harm any of us if they so wished.” She paused. “In fact, I would welcome them to try.” Legend carried on. Trying to make her see that it was not her well being he had in mind. Nor his own. A battle over witches in this age could become a problem for the entire world. For all creatures. Woods slowly understood what horrible events could take place as he talked. A modern witch hunt could send armies to destroy a city because of a sole outsider. ‘The Lady’ did not agree with them.
    “What difference would it make?” Her voice now stern and hard. ”They already destroy each other, let them continue as they see fit.” She made a simple gesture with her hand and the door slammed open. Two men with assault rifles stood ready, with their aim already straight towards the two of them. “I would ask you to leave now, cousin, but I know you would not.” A graceful smile and she blew a kiss towards him. Legend looked surprised for a moment then, as ‘the Lady’ turned towards the door, Woods started pulling her gun.

Bullets started flying through the air, straight past ‘the Lady’ and towards Legend. Woods threw herself to the side, and fired a few well aimed shots into the rifle of the man who was shooting towards her. The lead whined as they passed closely by her body and the shooter screamed as her bullets hit his hand and the weapon, destroying them both. One shot was heard from Legend and the second shooter flew backwards as a big hole was forming through his torso. Floating in the air were several small metal plates that, after having caught all the bullets, slowly slid back under his coat.
    He shouted to his cousin to stop as he aimed his high calibre hand gun towards her. She did as told and turned slowly towards him. Now with a more deadly visage. Her eyes red and stern. A cold wave seemed to roll through the room, giving the bare parts of Woods weapon a vague ice coating. The wind slowly picked up and as the windows burst open, she grabbed one of the paintings. Blistering cold pushed her back along the floor, breaking her footing. Legend stood fast, having his long red hair tear along with his coat, trying to take aim towards the now diffuse woman by the door. Only her red glowing eyes were clear. Woods lifted from the floor and clambered onto the painting for her life. When the bullet was fired, its muzzle flash seemed to light the room on fire for a brief moment, surprising Woods whose grip was lost and flew several feet through the room before slamming into the window pane with her torso. Giving her a chance to hold on. Looking up, towards the icing wind, she saw Legend fire another bullet which set the room ablaze once more before the wind suddenly stopped. With gravity as the stronger force, she slammed into the wall, loosing her grip completely. Sending her free into the vertiginous height with asphalt below. It all seemed to slow down as she started downwards. She could see and hear how the battle continued within the room. Flashes of light and sounds of explosions. Below was a busy street, with unknowing pedestrians and different sorts of vehicles. The distance between the wall and her was inch by inch getting wider as she tried to find something to grasp. Then something was suddenly coming up towards her. A thick white line, coming up the skyscraper wall. Instinctively, she stretched towards it and found that a pair of strong arms suddenly embraced her as she was heading upwards instead of down. The change of direction seemed to darken the world for a brief moment.

As she awoke, the battle was over. ‘The Lady’ was laying on the floor, wrapped in her masterfully woven carpet. Legend was smiling as he hugged another man. A big muscular man with flowing long white hair and a pair of sunglasses similar to Legends. Giving each other a quick pat on the back. The man then turned to pull an enormous sword out of the wall and Legend moved towards her. He seemed a little scorched, with small blackened patches over his skin and clothes, but otherwise unharmed. When he had checked to see that she was all right, the other man came over and seemed ready to talk, being cut off by Legend.
    “Thank you again.” They exchanged looks for a moment and soon the man only gave her a bashful smile before simply jumping out the window. Legend sighed as he helped her to her feet. “We will have to take a safer route down than that this time.” He jested and with ‘the Lady’ over his shoulder, they left. The ball had been dismissed and the service below did not seem to mind the carpet as they pulled out Legends black Thunderbird.
    As they were rolling up the driveway she looked over on him for a silent moment before talking “He smells like you.” Legends hands hardened its grip of the steering wheel for a brief moment before he replied, still keeping his eyes on the road.
    “He is my brother.” She nodded to the reply and looked out the side. The street seemed less menacing from this angle. Stressed people hurrying along the buildings, the vehicles trying to find their way while arguing about the space on the road. After some time of silence, Legend suddenly asked “I smell?”

Story is © Peter A Svensson 2010
All characters are coyright respective owners.